Overview of NJ Education Mandates: The Law and the SLP

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1 3/15/2016 Overview Overview of NJ Education Mandates: The Law and the SLP Created by Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP Smart Speech Therapy LLC For Individual Use Only. Do not resell, copy, or share downloads. Do not remove copyright. During this session, a special education attorney and a speech-language pathologist specializing in performing independent comprehensive speech language evaluations will review portions of the NJ Edu Code as well as select NJ Dept. of Edu memos pertaining to provision of speech language services as well as answer questions with relevance to re/evaluations, classifications, educational placements, and the provision of a FAPE to students with/without psychiatric and behavioral disorders with suspected/concomitant speech-language, processing, literacy and learning deficits. They will explain what constitutes an adequate assessment of deficit areas vs. provision of general language testing only as well as assist attendees with decision making pertaining to educational classifications, development of appropriate educational support plans as well as discuss IQ testing and language score discrepancies. 2 Learning Objectives At the completion of the SLP session, the participants will be able to: Identify preschool and school age eligibility criteria for speech language therapy based on initial assessments Explain what constitutes an adequate assessment of suspected deficit areas Discuss the concept of cognitive referencing as related to provision of speech language services to students with below average IQ and corresponding language abilities List NJ dyslexia laws and ASHA s position on SLPs screening and assessing students for literacy based disorders Discuss DOE and NJSHA/SAC resources available to SLPs Preschool Eligibility for Special Education Student is between 3-5 years of age with an identified disabling condition adversely affecting learning/development (DS, FXS) or Developmental 33 percent delay in one developmental area, or a 25 percent delay in two or more developmental areas below: 1. Physical, including gross/fine motor and sensory (vision and hearing) 2. Intellectual 3. Communication 4. Social/emotional 5. Adaptive Delays can be receptive or expressive and not based on a total score rather all testing findings need to be examined to determine adverse impact (academic and non-academic areas/social) and needs special ed and related services Delay in articulation can serve as a basis for consideration of eligibility 33 percent delay in one developmental area, or a 25 percent delay in conjunction with another area Necessary to establish relevant impact and need for special education 1

2 3/15/2016 Battelle And Determination of Preschool Disability Not the only test to determine eligibility. The nature and scope of the evaluation must be determined based on parent, teacher and IEP team feedback. Evaluation must include at least two assessments and conducted by at least two CST members SLP needs to participate in a meeting to determine if an SLP eval is needed For districts participating in Indicator 7 (Preschool Outcomes) BDI-2 is a required collection tool BUT this does not preclude the team from deciding what other diagnostic tools are needed to assess all areas of suspected disability to determine eligibility Preschool Test Selection General language tests for ages 3-6 Preschool Language Scale-5 (PLS-5) Test of Early Language Development-3 (TELD-3) Preschool Language Assessment Instrument -2 (PLAI-2) Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Preschool -2 (CELF-P2) Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language-3 (TACL-4) Pragmatic Language Checklists (see slides 30-32) Language Use Inventory LUI (O Neil, 2009) Children s Communication Checklist-2 (CCC-2) (Bishop, 2006) Play Sample (Westby Play Scale, 1980) le.pdf Language Sample How their utterance length? Narrative Assessment Can be performed on a verbal child as young as two years of age Initial Assessments Eligibility Criteria: School Age "Communication Impaired" - functional assessment of language in other than a testing situation and performance below 1.5 standard deviations, or the 10th percentile on at least (MINIMUM) two standardized language tests, where such tests are appropriate, one of which shall be a comprehensive test of both receptive and expressive language Test interpretation and decision-making regarding eligibility the criteria in the above provision do not limit the types of scores that can be considered (e.g., index, subtest, standard score, etc.). Test analyses, presented with the functional assessment of language and information about the educational impact of the communication difficulties on the student s ability to be involved in academic, nonacademic, and extracurricular activities, assist in determining eligibility. If it is determined that standardized tests are not appropriate for assessing whether a particular student has a language disorder, the IEP team may utilize other factors to make such a determination, such as relying on a functional assessment in other than a testing situation. Re/Evaluation Considerations If you get a student with specific vs. general language concerns/diagnoses (Social Communication, ADHD, CAPD, etc.) begin by administering a comprehensive battery of testing to determine the scope of their linguistic deficits DO NOT use the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals- 5 (CELF-5) only and call it a day Consider using the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy (TILLS) instead which is significantly better at teasing out linguistic and literacy deficits To expose all the deficits select assessment instruments in a targeted manner because children with language disorders do not always display weaknesses in all language areas but may only display difficulties in selected few (e.g., social communication, reading impairment, etc.) Instead of administering general language testing indiscriminately, review the student s educational and psychological reports and administer select specialized testing to specifically pinpoint the student s areas of difficulty, based on parent & teacher s checklists 2

3 3/15/2016 Select Assessment Battery Suggestions Listening Comprehension (for stories not just sentences) (Suggestions: consider administering the Listening Comprehension Test -2, the Listening Comprehension Test-Adolescent or assess their skills informally through presentation of science or social studies -related grade level passages when applicable) Comprehension of Ambiguous and Figurative Language (idioms, ambiguous expressions, etc.) (Suggestion: administer portions of Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals -5 Metalinguistics) Semantic Flexibility Skills (can the student easily generate definitions, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words, etc.) (Suggestions administer portions of the WORD Test 3 Elementary, WORD Test 2 Adolescent; The Expressive Language Test-2) Select Assessment Battery Suggestions (cont.) Narrative Abilities (can the student coherently and cohesively summarize books or movies) (Suggestion: Obtain an informal narrative sample) Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (Suggestions: Test of Problem Solving-2,Test of Problem Solving-3) Social Communication Skills (Suggestion: administer portions of Social Language Development Test Elementary, Social Language Development Test Adolescent, Informal Social Thinking Dynamic Assessment Protocol ) Executive Function Abilities (Suggestion: administer portions of The Executive Functions Test-Elementary; use the free Situational Awareness STOP Observation Tool) Cognitive Referencing and Qualification for Services The practice of comparing IQ scores and language scores as a factor for determining eligibility for speech-language intervention and is based on the assumption that language functioning cannot surpass cognitive levels Not supported by US Dept. of Edu (pg. 31) nor ASHA NJ Dept. of Edu does not have an explicit written policy regarding IQ/Language gap or lack of thereof BUT is not supported by the NJ Edu Code since it gives you criteria for qualifying for services (slide 4), which has no mention of IQ discrepancy Misinterpretation of the code (denial of services based on IQ/lang. discrepancy) is subject to state reporting as well as disciplinary measures A Note on Dyslexia Laws/Screening NJ now has 3 new dyslexia-related laws and 1 resolution. A3606 Professional Development Law (actual law text) A3608 Definition of Dyslexia Law (actual law text revised 2/16) A3605/S2442 Dyslexia Screening law (actual law text) If a child shows indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities early, they have to be screened by the end of the first semester of 2nd grade (*) If the screening indicates the child may indeed have reading difficulties then a comprehensive assessment of the learning/language is in order If the assessment confirms a diagnosis of reading disability, then the child should receive appropriate evidence-based intervention strategies Law does not state what will be done with children older than 2nd grade that show these indicators 3

4 3/15/2016 NJ DOE and Dyslexia Assessment by SLPs The DOE does not have a position with respect to SLPs assessing students with suspected literacy based disorders (as per phone interview with Fran Liebner on 3/8/16) The DOE defers to ASHA on literacy based disorders guidelines ASHA Literacy Gateway As per ASHA SLPs have the specialized knowledge and experience needed to identify communication problems and to provide the help that children need to build critical language and literacy skills. SLPs are often the first professionals to identify the root cause of reading and writing problems through a child's difficulty with language. ASHA and the Role of SLPs in Literacy Prevention -communicating risk factors to teachers and parents, and working with them to develop programming Identifying At-Risk Children assisting in development and implementation of screening and referral procedures for very young children as well as older school-age children Assessing selecting, implementing, adapting, and interpreting assessment tools and methods to evaluate skills in spoken language, reading, writing and spelling. Providing Intervention collaborating with teachers and families to plan intervention Documenting Outcomes establishing a tracking system for identifying new or re-emerging literacy deficits and documenting outcomes of intervention goals and plans. Program Development directing or participating in teams to develop school or system-wide strategic approaches to early identification and intervention for children with reading deficits. Advocating for Effective Literacy Practices providing information about literacy development to state and local agencies that plan and evaluate curricula, establish comprehensive assessments and set related policies; educating them about relationships between spoken language and written language (i.e., reading, writing and spelling), benefits of collaboration etc. Advancing the Knowledge Base -conducting scientifically-based research on early literacy development Resolution Process Resources Links referring to dispute resolution process: /chap14.pdf - See information in the code on pages forms and brochure /prise.pdf - See information beginning on p. 16 in PRISE Each county office of education has a County Supervisor of Child Study who can reach out to district administrators & staff if clarification is needed on specific special education regulations and issues. See: NJSHA can file a complaint on behalf of SLPs anonymously in situations of district violations NJSHA SAC Resources Contains information on: Frequently Asked Questions Brochures/Resources White Papers Compilations and Letters to/from the Department of Education Back to School Topics for Speech-Language Specialists Evaluation Framework for Speech-Language Specialists ASHA Documents for Roles and Responsibilities of SLPs in Schools New Education Guidance for Children With Autism 4

5 3/15/2016 SAC Issues in Progress Concerns about ABA programs/schools and the elimination of speech-language services Unqualified personnel and possible Medicaid violations Technical Assistance Documents Status Dyslexia Handbook Committee The Special Education Code NJAC 6A:14 re-adoption may happen in late 2016 or in 2017 (during IDEA re-adoption process) Please attend Session 46: School Affairs Update Friday April 15 th at 3:15pm for further in-depth details** NJ Office of Special Education Contacts Acting Executive Director - John Worthington, Esq Phone: Fax: SEACDC Consultant - Fran Liebner Phone: Fax: Contact Information: Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP Website: Blog: Shop: Facebook: Twitter: Pinterest:

6 ASK A LAWYER Jayne M. Wesler, Esq. April 14, 2016 Many school SLPs seem to be under the impression that doing any type of Myofunctional, oral motor, feeding or tactile therapies is illegal or unethical. I cannot find one statement in the Special Education code, Federal Law or otherwise stated in any legal document that this is true. There may be a matter of personal clinical preferences, beliefs or training. But the question remains, are these services illegal? Do missed speech sessions need to be made up and if so, when? Do School holidays and assemblies count or just therapists absences? Is there any information in the code regarding the School District having to attempt to hire a District therapist before being able to engage an agency to provide services? If so, does this mean that a District cannot abolish the District speech specialist positions only to hire an agency to provide therapists?

7 What specifics do you want to see in the Speech- Language Pathology report and what do they specifically look for in defending an outside placement? What is the New Jersey law on Speech-Language therapy for up to 5 (in a group)? Is this for all or some students? Is there a code to follow? One of our SLP s has seen an IEP which states not to exceed 3 children/students. Many of the groups in school have a mix of children/diagnoses. Is there a law regarding this? What are the guidelines for how a disorder (or diagnosis) impacts education? What if it is not impacting education? Do they not get picked up for services then?

8 Say you have a client with Selective Mutism ( SM ) or a voice disorder. What is the level of expertise for a therapist working with this client? What if they do not possess any experience with that specific type of population? Advocate vs. Attorney What does it usually come down to? Is there usually a difference (in what a family receives) due to financial resources the family has available? What is a good case to accept as an Attorney? What is the criteria for a School District to offer an outof-district placement? What is the criteria for a School District to pay for outside services (i.e. an SLP or other specialist specialized in a specific program)?

9 If a child is an ESLS child, can you add language goals in their IEP if they have not been tested by the Child Study Team? For a child referred for articulation (potential ESLS) issues and during their evaluation/observation, teachers state that there are learning/language issues, can SLP s test for language at that time or do we need to immediately refer for a complete Child Study Team evaluation and await additional permission from the parents? Can you test the language of an ESLS child? Do you have to utilize two (2) language tests for reevaluation or tri-annual evaluations or only for eligibility? Is it illegal or against code to perform screenings in New Jersey schools? Some SLP s are under the impression that they are able to screen as long as it is part of a mass screening for all students (i.e. all incoming kindergarteners).

10 I would like to have clarification as to whether or not SLPs are required/allowed to provide pre-referral interventions for speech students when they are brought before the District s Interventions and Referral Services committee. If SLP s can screen, are they allowed to screen all areas, including language, or, can they just screen for articulation/fluency/voice: SCHOOL DISTRICT LIMITATIONS OF OBSERVATION & TESTIMONY S.B. and K.B. o/b/o P.B. v. Park Ridge BOE: A parent must be given the opportunity to observe the proposed educational placement prior to implementation of the IEP. N.J.A.C. 6A:14-4.1(k); OAL DKT. No. EDS Neither parents themselves, nor their experts, may be denied the observation, materials and information necessary to evaluate a program. In order to evaluate a program, an expert must have facts and data concerning the program, as well as observation of and interviews with the personnel, including teachers, aides and therapists. The observation must of duration sufficient necessary to offer expert opinion. Judge found the District s attempts at restricting the expert s time unreasonable.unreasonable. Id. at OTHER ISSUES RELEVANT TO SLP S

11 ASHA SCOPE OF PRACTICE FOR SLP Professional roles and activities include: 1. Language (comprehension & expression) -phonology -morphology -syntax -semantics -pragmatics (language use, social aspects of communication) -literacy (reading, writing & spelling) -pre-linguistic communication (e.g. joint attention, intentionality, communicative signaling. 2. Cognition COMMUNICATION SKILLS Communication skills play a critical role in functional daily living and in the global educational experience. SLP recommendations often include consideration of a student s over-arching educational placement. All conclusions drawn are always rooted in and relevant to spoken and written communication. -attention -memory -sequencing -problem solving -executive functioning WHAT SLP S SHOULD REMEMBER AS YOU ASSESS STUDENTS AND WRITE REPORTS: 1. Always do a classroom/lunch/recess observation even though the code says that only one CST member HAS to observe. That is the minimum, not the maximum. Observation should not just be your observation of the student during the testing session.

12 2. Get teacher input. 3. Explain your formalized test findings, not just list the percentiles. 4. Use curricular material (if working in the schools) to address speech/language/social issues. 5. SOCIAL is part of speech/language and should be addressed in each evaluation.

13 6. If your goals and objectives are the same after 2 years, then there is a problem either with the objectives, the way it is being presented, or the student wasn t assessed appropriately (levels, etc.), and you have to relook at how you are approaching their issues. 7. Functional levels are as important if not more important than formalized test scores. This must be part of your evaluation. 8. When writing G & O, don t be limited by the goal banks provided. 9. Make objectives clear and measurable.

14 10. Communication Impaired can be based upon functional information in addition to formalized testing. 11. If you find a weak subtest in an overall language test (even if the overall language score is within the average range), you should then find a test that addresses the sub-area. 12. If you feel that you are not trained in a particular area for a particular student, you should talk to the administration for that training. 13. If you are part of a district where the student is in an ABA program, you are still responsible for speech/language/social development of that student.

15 14. Communication with teachers and parents are necessary for an appropriate program for a child.

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